Articles written by Joe Schmick

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  • Lawmakers should hear from voters on initiatives

    Joe Schmick|Updated Mar 8, 2024

    It is with a mix of encouragement and disappointment that the Senate majority leader says four of the six citizen initiatives to the Legislature "might" have public hearings scheduled before the end of the 2024 session. But don't hold your breath. We are now nearly two-thirds into a 60-day session, with only a handful of committee meetings remaining before adjournment March 8. Despite repeated efforts by Republicans asking for majority Democrats to hold hearings on the initiat...

  • Taking the 'Gotcha!' out of public records requests

    Joe Schmick|Updated Feb 8, 2024

    When Washington’s voters adopted the state’s Public Records Act under Initiative 276 in 1972, they wanted to make sure that state, county, and city governments operate openly and are transparent to the people. They recognized the best way to ensure transparency and accountability to the citizens of Washington is to require that most government records are made available to the public. The PRA, however, was never intended to help some make money at the expense of gov...

  • State payroll tax to hit businesses this summer

    Joe Schmick|Updated Apr 6, 2023

    House and Senate budget writers released their 2023-25 state operating budget proposals recently. It was a reminder that taxpayers have been very kind to the state’s coffers as revenue forecasts over the past few years have continued to increase. As a result of taxpayer largess and the majority party’s proclivity to spend every dime available, state spending has more than doubled over the past 10 years. Has our population doubled? No. According to the Washington State Off...

  • Kaiser Permanente's new rural pharmacy rules bad for consumers and our communities

    Rep. Joe Schmick|Updated Feb 23, 2023

    Growing up on the farm, I heard grandma’s sage advice in just about every situation imaginable. “A trouble shared is a trouble halved.” “This isn’t my first rodeo.” “Many hands make light work.” When hearing about Kaiser Permanente’s change in how its customers could get their prescriptions refilled, what came to mind was this: “It doesn’t cut the mustard.” Last summer, the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) and the School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB) voted to allow Kaiser Permanente to proceed with new rural pharmacy...

  • Back in Olympia

    Mark Schoesler Joe Schmick and Mary Dye|Updated Jan 19, 2023

    We are back at the state Capitol for the 2023 legislative session, which began Jan. 9 and is set to last 105 days, ending April 23. After being forced to endure a virtual legislative session in 2021 and last year due to restrictions caused by COVID-19, we’re encouraged that the Legislature has returned to near-normal in terms of how committee meetings and floor sessions are conducted. In the two previous legislative sessions, citizens weren’t allowed to attend committee meetings or floor sessions in person. Instead, they had...

  • Emphasis on taxpayer protections is among the Legislature’s top priorities

    JOE SCHMICK, Ninth District R Colfax|Updated Jan 31, 2013

    One of the things I continually hear when traveling around the 9th Legislative District is this: “Joe, when are politicians in Olympia going to understand the ‘will of the people’ when it comes to raising taxes?” Unfortunately, my answer is usually this: I wish I knew. Voters have repeatedly told Olympia through the initiative process that they want it difficult – not impossible – to raise taxes. The idea of requiring a two-thirds vote in the Legislature or a vote of the peop...

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